Soccer

New Everton boss Frank Lampard focused on Premier League survival bid

New Everton manager Frank Lampard admits his priority is steering the club away from relegation trouble.

Ten defeats in 13 matches resulted in the unpopular Rafael Benitez’s sacking a fortnight ago, with the Toffees having dropped to within four points of the bottom three.

While Lampard’s first match in charge will be the FA Cup fourth-round visit of fellow top-flight opposition Brentford, he knows the Premier League has to be the priority.

“The most important thing to focus on is the short-term,” Lampard told evertontv after signing a two-and-a-half-year contract.

“We know the new stadium (at Bramley-Moore Dock) is coming and where this club wants to be, but, first and foremost, there are challenges in front of us right now.

“The league position – and an FA Cup game at the weekend. I want to get to work very quickly on that, to deal with the short-term.”

Despite his appointment coming midway through January transfer deadline day, Lampard hopes to be able to rejuvenate a squad low on morale and lacking in quality, with a number of deals having been worked on over the weekend.

He also has to re-energise and re-engage the fanbase, who have felt particularly isolated and ignored since owner Farhad Moshiri made the controversial decision to appoint former Liverpool manager Benitez in the summer.

“I want to make a positive impact and, if bringing in players helps that, then we’ll try to do it in a very joined-up way,” added Lampard, who has brought former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich assistant manager Paul Clement on to his coaching team for his “wealth of experience and top-class coaching skills”.

“In terms of my idea on the squad, I’ve seen things from the outside that will be my priorities to try to improve – firstly, to get results, but also to try to improve confidence and the way we play and to engage with the fans.